|Tuesday, Nov 22, 2011|
On Wednesday, November 16th, the United States Mint released the Oklahoma "America the Beautiful®" Quarter at Chickasaw National Recreation Area with over 800 spectators and participants present to celebrate the occasion.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area quarter is the 10th coin in the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® program, a 12-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other national sites authorized by Public Law 110-456.
Festivities began with a coin forum held by the United States Mint on the evening of November 15th at the Travertine Nature Center Auditorium with 35 participants in attendance. This forum was an opportunity for collectors and interested citizens to inquire about United States Mint products and programs.
The coin release on Wednesday morning took place in the Flower Park section of the park. Oklahoma state representative Wes Hilliard served as emcee, and, after an invocation by Pastor Bill Leveridge, remarks were made by Superintendent Bruce Noble; Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, Chickasaw Nation History and Culture Center; and B.B. Craig, Associate Director, United States Mint. At the ceremonial release, the park also recognized the recent National Historic Landmark designation of Platt National Park (expanded and renamed Chickasaw National Recreation Area in 1976) with the presentation of a National Historic Landmark plaque.
In addition to almost 400 students in attendance from area schools, the East Central University Clarinet Ensemble provided music, the Sulphur Intermediate School 5th grade class led the Pledge of Allegiance, and American Legion Platt National Park Post #148 presented the colors. Dressed in traditional attire, the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe performed a “friendship” dance at the beginning of the ceremony.
At the end of the program, children 18 years old and younger received a new “Chickasaw” quarter to commemorate the event. Immediately following the ceremony, Landmark Bank of Davis, Oklahoma led a coin exchange where visitors swapped currency for the equivalent value in new Chickasaw quarters.
The reverse (tails side) design of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area quarter depicts a view of the historic Lincoln Bridge with Travertine Creek flowing underneath. Built in 1909 in celebration of the centennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, construction specifications required that the bridge be strong enough to hold up to the stress of a “four horse team at full gallop” crossing the bridge.
Depiction of this historic icon on the quarter emphasizes the 100+ year history of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, where the National Park Service has protected this revered landscape under four different names: Sulphur Springs Reservation (1902), Platt National Park (1906), Arbuckle Recreation Area (1962), and today as Chickasaw National Recreation Area (1976).
Chickasaw park staff at the quarter release ceremony were assisted by fellow NPS rangers from Washita Battlefield National Historic Site and the Oklahoma City National Memorial, as well as the Sulphur Police Department, park volunteers, and the Landmark Bank.
“I was delighted to see the many ways in which community partners so capably supported the National Park Service as we hosted this very successful coin launch event,” said Noble.
To learn more about Chickasaw National Recreation Area, check www.nps.gov/chic/ or call the Travertine Nature Center, 580-622-7234.